Broken irrigators ineligible for drought resilience grants
02 September 2020
Broken River irrigators were excluded from Andrews Labor Government’s On-Farm Drought Resilience Grants.
Despite the program being open to farmers in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District, the government did not include Broken farmers.
Member for Euroa and The Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan said the exclusion of drought affected irrigators on the Broken was a terrible oversight.
“The Broken system is a dry land regulated irrigation area that was hit hard by the drought,” said Ms Ryan.
“This system has had one of the lowest allocations of any in Victoria, has been subject to Ministerial intervention, and is currently being reviewed.
“Broken irrigators should have been eligible to receive drought funding and the definition of what constitutes the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District was unclear and totally inappropriate.”
Ms Ryan has been contacted by irrigators on the Broken system that were deemed ineligible for the grant who couldn’t believe the Government decision.
The On-Farm Drought Resilience Grant provided up to $5,000 for farm business planning activities and an additional $5,000 for drought infrastructure investments. This grant also included new eligible technologies to improve mobile phone connectivity, and items such as soil moisture probes.
Maureen Cottam of Benalla applied for the grant earlier in the year and received a reply that she was not from within an eligible area.
“I was shocked,” Ms Cottam said.
“Our area was hard hit by drought, and we had nil water allocation.
“It beggars belief that irrigators on the Broken were ineligible for these grants.”
Ms Ryan said the government needed to reassess the aim of the program and the applicants from the Broken River system to ensure they had access to resilience building in their operations.
“Drought affected farmers in drought declared regions specified in a grant program cannot be ruled ineligible because of some unexplained line on a map,” said Ms Ryan.